As the Democratic Party appears to be devolving into a pitchfork-wielding mob, at least one Democrat official is willing to stand against the rising tide of incivility and violent rhetoric. North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp yesterday rebuked Hillary Clinton’s statement that Democrats could not be civil with Republicans as “ridiculous.”
Earlier this week, failed presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said on CNN, “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about. That's why I believe if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and or the Senate, that's when civility can start again.”
The embattled North Dakota senator responded to Clinton’s comments on Anderson Cooper’s show, also on CNN, saying, “That's ridiculous. I mean I can't imagine how you get anything done if you don't bring civility back into politics, and that goes for both sides.”
Heitkamp’s newfound ability to speak out against heated Democrat rhetoric may be related to a bevy of bad polls in her reelection campaign. Heitkamp was trailing her Republican challenger even before she announced her opposition to Brett Kavanaugh. Since September, she has trailed by double-digits. Heitkamp’s seat represents one of the best chances for Republicans to flip a Senate seat this November.
To be fair, however, Heitkamp, a red state Democrat, is not a typical liberal. In 2016, Donald Trump reportedly considered her for a cabinet position as Secretary of Agriculture. Since then, she has voted with Trump about half the time and her support for a bill reforming Dodd-Frank earned her a public thank you from the Koch brothers. A GovTrack ranking of senators puts her almost squarely in the middle of the Senate and more conservative than Susan Collins (R-Maine).
Sen. Heitkamp’s call for civility may not be enough to save her seat, but it is nonetheless refreshing to hear. If the North Dakota voters choose to bring her home, the real loser will be the Democratic Party, where moderate voices are becoming increasingly difficult to find.